Join the Revolution: An Interview with Make It! Founder Jenna Herbut
In 2008, Jenna Herbut started "Make It! The Handmade Revolution," which has grown into one of Canada's biggest craft fairs. We spoke with her about the fair, her book, and what to expect at this weekend's event.
What was your inspiration in starting “Make It! The Handmade Revolution”? I assume the first shows started small?
Make It started over 11 years ago in a tiny community centre in Edmonton. My brother Chandler and I wanted to create opportunities for artists and makers to be able to earn a living selling what they made. We both owned handmade businesses ourselves, and at the time there wasn’t really the type of show that we felt had a strong sense of community. Our first show featured about 25 exhibitors, and I would have never guessed we’d be able to grow it to the point where we have hundreds of “Makies” at our bi-annual shows in Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary!
What can people expect at this year’s show?
We’re excited to return to Edmonton Expo Centre with 180 of our favourite Makies who’ll be selling handmade clothing, accessories, art, home décor, gourmet goodies, kids items, and more! Our attendees often tell us we’re a one stop shop for unique holiday gifts.
Why is showcasing local, handmade products important to you?
Because I know how good it feels to sell what you make. There’s something special that happens when someone buys direct from the Makie. They become part of their story.
What is Edmonton’s craft scene like? Has it grown much since 2008?
So much! When we first started Make It there were hardly any other shows, but now there are some really amazing ones like The Royal Bison, and Curated that also support the handmade community.
How does someone become a “Makie”?
If you’re a Canadian artist, creator, or maker, and your products are handmade, designed by you, and made in Canada, we invite you to join our welcoming community of ‘Makies’ by applying at: makeitshow.ca/apply. We host bi-annual markets in Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. The more opportunities there are for creative entrepreneurs to market their brand, the better it is for everyone in the community.
What is your book about?
I wrote Make It Happen (Page Two Books Publishing, November 6, 2018) to help creative entrepreneurs earn a living doing what they love. It not only shares my story, but the story of several other Makies who have remarkable advice on how they have been able to make it happen by overcoming fear and resistance.